Owasso, Oklahoma

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Information Abstracted from:

Tulsa County Historic Sites July 1982: Prepared by the Community Planning Division Indian Nations Council of Governments for the Tulsa County Historical Society (Financed in part with Federal funds ...) Description

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The City of Owasso is one of the oldest existing communities in Tulsa County. Owasso is a Cherokee word meaning "trail 's end" or "end of the trail". The community of Owasso was so named because it was, at that time, the terminus in the Indian Territory of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. The first building in Owasso was the A.T. & S.F. Railroad depot. (1)

Owasso was surveyed and platted in 1897 by Dr. Win, who made a great effort to assist in the town's growth. The Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe was at that time building a dam on its right-of-way to create a water supply to support its rail line. Dr. Win circulated a report that stated Owasso was to become the division point when the railroad company built a line to Locust Grove, Texas. (2) As a result, buildings sprang up overnight. Among businessmen who located in Owasso in 1897 were B. F. Finch, groceryman; J. B. Taylor, groceryman; N. R. Mounger, manager of the W. 0. Whitney Lumber Company; W. L. Smith, hotel keeper; J. T. Barnes, livery and mail route operator; the Troup Dry Goods Company; Dr. J. C. Chany, druggist; and Mr. Wilcox, blacksmith. These businesses were all located on Grant Avenue (now Broadway) between Oklahoma (now Atlanta) and Missouri (now Birch). (3)

The first residence in town was that of Preston Ballard, which was moved to Owasso from Elm Post Office, a nearby crossroads several miles southeast of Owasso. (4) Early residences were located between the rail line and Cedar from 2nd Street to 4th Avenue. Early doctors who settled in Owasso were Dr. J. R. Kirksey, Dr. R. Wheeler and Dr. J. C. Chany.

1898 was a year of changes. The town grew steadily due to the sale of the products of the fertile Bird Creek bottom lands and surrounding prairies. More businesses came to town, including Ballard and Overturf General Store and Smith Brother's General Store - N. C. and S. L. Smith, proprietors. (5) The first fraternal organization also came to Owasso in 1898; the Woodmen of the World met over Smith Brother's Store and had a membership of 38.

In the year 1900, Messrs. Dyer. Preston Ballard and Nat D. Smith began a campaign to raise funds for the erection of a school building and church. Messrs. Robertson, Smith and Frank B. Finch are credited with sawing blocks from the Bird Creek bottoms for he foundation of the building. Mose Monroe was the carpenter who constructed the building, and N. D. Smith was the new school's first teacher. That year, 47 pupils paid $1.00 a month to attend the subscription school. Before the second term started, Misses Lucy Ann and Bettie B. Martin moved to town with their mother and stepfather, C. 0. Kinney, and began teaching the school. (6) In 1909, bonds were voted for a new brick schoolhouse which was erected in 1910-11. Hayward H. Haden, Nat Smith and Boon F. Gray composed the first school board and Dan M. Setser was the first principal. (7) In 1919, two one-room districts voted to join the Owasso District No. 14. With the consolidation, Owasso became the largest consolidated school district in America, encompassing 62 square miles. (8)

Owasso's first parsonage was built through the effort of Bob Smith. The first church building was the First Baptist built in l904. (9) Another early church was the First Christian Church.

In 1904, the A.T. & S.F. Railroad extended its line to Tulsa, Oklahoma, making Owasso its division point for a few years until the road was completed. In 1905, two elevators were built to care for the enormous amount of grain grown in the vicinity of Owasso. The first of these buildings was erected by the Caney Grain Company and the second by Dickson Brothers. Three hotels were built in 1904; the Eureka, the Palace and the Owasso Hotel. The Palace was destroyed by fire in 1907. C. 0. Kinney operated one of the hotels and a grocery.

The first bank was erected and opened for business in 1904, with Mr. Quigley as its first President. In 1905, it became the First National Bank of Owasso. (10) In 1906, a brick structure was built to house the bank. Another early bank was the Owasso State Bank.

Owasso had a post office as early as 1900 and in 1906, through the efforts of Dr. J. W. Kirksey, the town of Owasso was incorporated under the laws of Indian Territory and Arkansas. The first officials were: Jack Foster, Mayor; Mr. Hayslip, E. M. Macy and T. W. Ray, councilmen; Jewel Macy, recorder; and Sam Gideon, marshal . (11)

After Oklahoma was admitted to the Union, Owasso progressed more rapidly. The sidewalks of Owasso were the result of the efforts of Dr. J. W. Kirksey, president of the town board. By 1921, Owasso had no city waterworks, but a ten-acre lake located one-mile from town supplied an abundance of soft, clear water.

Endnotes - Owasso
1. C.B. Douglas, History of Tulsa, Oklahoma, vol. 1 (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1921), pp 683-684
2. Ibid., p. 684
3. Ibid., p. 685
4. Ruth F. McCarty, "Brief History of Owasso, Indian Territory and Owasso, Oklahoma to 1919", (Unpublished document, November-December, 1980) p. 1.
5. C.B. Douglas, p. 684
6. Ibid., p. 684
7. Ibid., p. 685
8. McCarty, p. 2.
9. Sanborn Insurance Maps. Owasso, Indian Territory, 1904.
10. C.B Douglas, p. 685.
11. Ibid., p. 685

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